Election Commission Postpones Punjab Polls to February 20

Election Commission Postpones Punjab Polls to February 20
The Election Commission (EC) postponed the Punjab Assembly polls by six days in view of Guru Ravidas Jayanti, it announced on Monday. The Punjab poll which was earlier slated to be held in single phase on February 14 will now take place on February 20.

The poll body earlier today held a meeting to discuss the request made by political leaders of several parties to defer the next month's Assembly polls in the state.

The election commission said that it decided to defer the polls after taking inputs from the state government and the chief electoral officer of Punjab.

The Election Commission in a statement said, "Commission has received several representations from state government, political parties and other organizations drawing attention regarding movement of a large number of devotees from Punjab to Varanasi for participation in Sri Guru Ravidas Ji Jayanti celebrations, which is observed on 16th February 2022. They have also brought to the notice that a large number of devotees start moving for Varanasi around a week before the day of celebration and keeping the poll day on 14th February 2022 will deprive large number of electors from voting. In view of this, they have requested to shift the poll date a few days after 16th February 2022."

"…Now Commission has decided to reschedule the General Elections to Legislative Assembly of Punjab in the following manner: Date of Notification: 25th January 2022 (Tuesday). Last date of Nomination: 1st February 2022 (Tuesday). Date of Scrutiny: 2nd February 2022 (Wednesday). Date of Withdrawal: 4th February 2022 (Friday). Date of Poll: 20th February 2022 (Sunday)."

The counting of votes will be taken up on March 10.

Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit S Channi recently wrote to the poll panel urging it to postpone the Assembly polls by six days in the wake of the birth anniversary of Guru Ravidas.

In his letter to Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra, Channi said that it was brought to his notice by some representatives of the Scheduled Castes community, which contributes around 32 percent of the state's population that the birth anniversary of Guru Ravidas falls on February 16.

"On this occasion, a large number of SC devotees (about 20 lakh) from the state are likely to visit Banaras in Uttar Pradesh from February 10 to 16. In such a situation, many people from this community would not be able to cast their votes for the state assembly, which is otherwise their constitutional right," he stated in the letter written on January 13.

He further said the people from the community have requested that the voting date may be extended in such a way that they are able to visit Banaras from February 10 to February 16 and also participate in the Assembly elections.

"It is considered fair and appropriate that the voting for Punjab assembly elections 2022, may be postponed for at least six days, enabling about 20 lakh people to utilise their right to vote for the state legislative assembly," he added.

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